Monday, November 2, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

They're creepy, but they're friendly (to each other)
Photo Credit:
I actually watched this episode on Halloween, so it was extra spoooOOOOoooky. I don't normally talk about backstage bits, but I do want to say that the adventures of poor Boo Dallas made my entire life complete.

Worst Friend – Roman Reigns
Since finishing up with the Wyatt Family, it looks like Roman Reigns is back to ignoring his alleged best pal, Dean Ambrose. While Ambrose decided to take up Wyatt's challenge and was open to people joining him, Reigns was nowhere to be found, even though his match was the first of the night and he won without taking a huge amount of damage. I could understand Reigns not wanting to tangle with the Wyatts yet again, but a conversation between him and Ambrose would have been nice. Instead, Reigns is once again setting his sights on the WWE World Heavyweight championship, which apparently leaves no room for things like “being a good friend.” He almost deserved to lose to Kevin Owens, but instead had to settle for a count-out win. The two had a pretty good match to start the show. I'm getting used to Kevin Owens trying to bail at least once per match, like it's just another move in his arsenal. And it seems that if his opponent gets him back into the ring he just fights all the harder, so it could almost be to their advantage to just let him go. Kevin Owens will try to take the easy way out, but he doesn't HAVE to, which differentiates him from a basic, cowardly heel. He's more than capable of finishing the fights he starts – if he feels like it.

Friendship Frenzy – Lucha Dragons, Ascension, Dudley Boyz, Sheamus and King Barrett
The four corners match was one that I would definitely watch again in order to catch everything that went down. In addition to the four teams in the ring, Big E and Kofi Kingston sat in on commentary and succeeded in completely taking it over, much to my delight. Xavier Woods was still missing in action; similarly, Rusev did not accompany Sheamus and Barrett, nor did Stardust support the Ascension, but there was so much going on already that I don't think any additional chaos would have been necessary. I wondered where the Prime Time Players and Los Matadores were, but the teams we got were energized, aggressive, and in sync, as a tag team based on true friendship should be. Even the Ascension managed to keep me engaged (especially when they appeared to be mortally offended at the New Day's accusation that none of the other teams believe in magic).

As mentioned, it was hard to take everything in, but I really enjoyed the match. There was even a BONUS FRIENDSHIP spot when the Dudleys and the Dragons briefly teamed up. After a chaotic sequence at the end of the match, the Lucha Dragons ended up winning with Kalisto pinning Viktor. It was really nice to see the Dragons get a spotlight during the match and then a win. For a while now they've been a big part of all the multi-team matches leading to the next title opportunity, but they've still never gone all the way. I'd like to see them take on the New Day.

Most Misplaced Lack of Friendship – Dolph Ziggler and the Miz
Dolph Ziggler and the Miz had a “Trick or Treat Street Fight” so that Ziggler could get his own back after having suffered at the hands of Tyler Breeze on a segment of Miz TV. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the hell out of this ridiculous match (kendo sticks painted to look like candy corn? Miz brandishing a lightsaber and inevitably ending up with a pumpkin on his head? Awesome), but shouldn't Ziggler have been facing Breeze? It's not poor Miz's fault that his show so often devolves into violence. Ziggler won the match and ended up being attacked by Breeze again anyway, so perhaps he should stop picking on hapless hosts and making snarky comments about newbies and actually start handling his business.

Saddest Friendship Situation – Natalya
Poor Natalya. I was so pleased when she joined forces with Charlotte and Becky Lynch, then she was laid out by a mystery assailant and seemingly abandoned by absolutely everyone. Her match with Paige was over almost as quickly as it started. Natalya may occasionally be painted as the veteran of the women's division, but that apparently doesn't stop her from being as easily distracted as anyone else. Team BAD interrupted the match to declare that Natalya had their attention now...which is really kind of sad, given how helpless she's appeared lately. When they proceeded to beat on the already-downed Natalya, absolutely no one came out to help her. I'm glad to see Team BAD actually doing things, and I'll gladly take a series featuring Natalya against Sasha Banks or Naomi, but I question what they hope to gain from this other than killing time.

Friendship? Or Something? – Alberto del Rio and R-Truth
Every time I thought about this episode of Smackdown I forgot about del Rio's match against R-Truth. Coming across it in my notes just now was a complete surprise to me. So, yeah, Alberto del Rio faced and beat R-Truth in quick order because that's the best way to make a splashy comeback, right?

Best Friends – The Wyatt Family
Leading up to the main event I was prepared to write a lengthy bit about Dean Ambrose finding a new best friend in Cesaro and all the endearing hijinks that could ensue over Ambrose being utterly mystified by Cesaro's dapper appearance. What an odd couple! How charming! (and also Ryback was there, ugh) But then their match against Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman happened and the Wyatts just kind of destroyed...everything. In a good way. They looked pretty darn unstoppable, and it's everything I could have hoped for from Rowan coming back and the whole gang being together. Ambrose's army gave it their all, with Ambrose and Ryback literally throwing themselves at Strowman to try and stop him, leaving Cesaro to try and finish the match himself. Cesaro once again looked great and the crowd loved him (I particularly loved him and Harper going one-on-one), which made it all the more effective when Strowman arose and overturned the announce table like a zombie brick house, and it became clear that not even Cesaro could win here. While the ref was distracted, Bray Wyatt slapped him and he was then pinned by Harper. Throughout the match the Wyatts just SWARMED our heroes, and seeing Actual Superman Cesaro laid out at the Wyatts' feet was an appropriately unsettling way to end the Halloween episode of Smackdown.